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Publication 23

Wrinkles as the Result of Compressive Stresses in an Annular Thin Film


NYUPeter Bella
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences
New York University

NYURobert V Kohn
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences
New York University

It is well known that an elastic sheet loaded in tension will wrinkle and that the length scale of the wrinkles tends to zero with vanishing thickness of the sheet [Cerda and Mahadevan, Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 074302 (2003)]. We give the first mathematically rigorous analysis of such a problem. Since our methods require an explicit understanding of the underlying (convex) relaxed problem, we focus on the wrinkling of an annular sheet loaded in the radial direction [Davidovitch et al., PNAS 108 (2011), 18227]. Our main achievement is identification of the scaling law of the minimum energy as the thickness of the sheet tends to zero. This requires proving an upper bound and a lower bound that scale the same way. We prove both bounds first in a simplified Kirchhoff-Love setting and then in the nonlinear three-dimensional setting. To obtain the optimal upper bound, we need to adjust a naive construction (one family of wrinkles superimposed on a planar deformation) by introducing a cascade of wrinkles. The lower bound is more subtle, since it must be ansatz-free.
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